- NAME: Frank Zappa
- OCCUPATION: Director, Songwriter, Guitarist, Music Producer
- BIRTH DATE: December 21, 1940
- DEATH DATE: December 04, 1993
- EDUCATION: Antelope Valley Junior College, Chaffey Junior College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Baltimore, Maryland
- PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California
- Full Name: Frank Vincent Zappa
- AKA: Frank Zappa
Best Known For
Musician Frank Zappa made more than 60 albums during his career. Flouting convention and fusing musical genres, Zappa's music was often politically charged and intentionally shocking.
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But in 1971, serious setbacks occurred: during a concert in Switzerland, the venue went up in flames—the event was memorialized in Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water." Just one week later, Zappa suffered an on-stage fall that resulted in serious injuries including a crushed larynx and multiple fractures—he was left with a limp, a lowered voice, and back pain for the rest of his life.
Never fully fitting into the rock genre anyway, partly due to his refusal to embrace its drug culture,
he moved toward the formation of new bands with more of a jazz base. The decade of the '70s cultivated his reputation as one of the music industry’s most accomplished and demanding bandleaders. His prolific orchestral output was bisected by an unexpected Top 40 hit, "Valley Girl," performed with his daughter, Moon Unit, which funded more of his less commercially viable musical projects.
Outside of playing music, Zappa directed music videos, short films and features, and he became obsessed with the infinite possibilities synthetic music offered because it could accommodate almost most anything he dreamed up. Stints as a guest speaker on social activism emerged after his Senate testimony about censorship in music.
In 1990, Czechoslovakian President Václav Havel appointed Zappa as his cultural liaison officer, but Pesident George H.W. Bush soon quashed the appointment. Thereafter, Zappa briefly considered running for U.S. president.
While the general public's perception was often one of a kook, Zappa was deeply respected as a consummate musician and composer, an innovative filmmaker, and a prolific cross-genre artist.
Frank Zappa died from prostate cancer on December 4, 1993, at the age of 52, in Los Angeles. He was survived by his wife of 26 years, Gail Sloatman, who had managed much of Zappa's business concerns in his later career, and their four children: Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen. After Zappa's death, his family released the statement: "Composer Frank Zappa left for his final tour just before 6 p.m. Saturday."
In 1995, Frank Zappa was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; in 1997, he was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
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